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To say to the boating community in SWDC is a close-knit one would be a significant understatement. Friends and neighbors dressed in their finest proved this on the evening of January 11th, 2014, when they gathered together to celebrate the Port of Washington Yacht Club’s Change of Watch ceremony aboard the Spirit of Washington dinner cruise.

The evening’s festivities included a cocktail hour and a buffet style dinner, followed by the ceremony proceedings, in which the previous year’s ‘bridge,’ or leadership team, passed on the baton to the next year’s, except in this case the proverbial baton is actually a golden boat hook.

The bridge is made up of positions such as Commodore, Vice Commodore, Treasurer, Secretary, Cruising Commodore, Social Commodore, and Safety Captain. The post of Commodore, which was undertaken by Debbie Christianson in 2013 as well as 2011, was passed on to Darryl Madden on the night of the event. The group taking over these roles for 2014 is sure to have its fair share of challenges, particularly with the wharf development plunging full speed ahead.

The boating community is has become tightly bonded due to supporting each other through disastrous house boat fires and the deaths of shared friends. At one point in the ceremony the memorial ringing of the ship’s bell occurred, which is used as a moment of silence to remember former members who have passed away. During his acceptance speech, and inspired by the fact that his friends and neighbors had donated about $1,000 to him when his house boat caught fire last years, incoming Commodore Darryl Madden announced that he would be establishing the Dorothy Mae Fund, which will be used as an emergency fund in the event of catastrophic loss. The evening’s events also included a raffle, which raised $440 towards the fund.

Most of the guests present were members of the yacht club, but you don’t have to own a boat or live on the water to join the revelry. Membership to the yacht club costs a mere $100 for the year and is open to anyone.

By: Julia Cole

Caption 1: The 2014 Bridge

Caption 2: Debbie Christianson and Darryl Madden, the 2013 and 2014 Commodores

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